Ubuntu Edge the super phone

There is always a constant race for the third spot of mobile operating systems behind Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Currently, it's Windows Phone and BlackBerry, but then, there's Firefox's open-sourced operating system and Samsung's Tizen mobile (both Linux mobile OSs) lurking around waiting to be launched.

One brand that could possibly give everyone a run for their money in 2014 though is Ubuntu.

Ubuntu originated as a free and open source operating desktop system based on the Linux Kernel, and is popular among the developer community and for server systems because of its unrestrictive operating system.

For the past three months, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, entered the mobile OS world with a loud bang after breaking the crowd-funding record with almost US$13 million (S$17 million) already promised by backers via indiegogo.com for the Ubuntu Edge. Sadly, it failed to hit its target.

Like kickstarter.com, which brought the Android-based console Ouya (US$8.5 million) and Pebble smart watch (US$10.3 million) to life, indiegogo is hosting the Ubuntu Edge smartphone and Canonical has set the target at whopping US$32 million.

They fell short by US$19 million, and the project went dead, with money returned to backers.

What is the Ubuntu Edge?

At US$600 per piece (dropped from US$695), the Ubuntu Edge was supposed to be a monster of a smartphone.

Its top features are a 128GB hard disk, with the ability to dual boot Ubuntu mobile and Android, and also, converts into a full desktop PC using the Ubuntu OS.

The Edge would have had 4GB of RAM, a 4.5-inch screen, and a 720x1280 resolution screen, protected by Sapphire glass.Canonical said that beyond 300 pixels per inch, there's really not much difference to the naked eye, hence the resolution is sufficient on the Edge.

The processor hasn't been decided on yet, because Ubuntu wanted to have the latest hardware available to include in the phone, which can double up as the desktop.

With that kind of power, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB hard disk drive which is flash storage, and not available in any device now, will give the Ubuntu Edge the power to be your mobile desktop.

The future for Ubuntu Mobile

So why am I telling you about this seemingly amazing smartphones spec sheet which will never get made?

Perhaps it will get made if Canonical is confident enough to inject its own funds in, or perhaps, if an investor steps in to fill in the missing US$20 million funding.

Perhaps we will never see an Ubuntu Edge, but the good news is, there is a following for a dual-boot Android/Ubuntu smart phone.

From experience, the Ubuntu desktop OS is smooth, and minimalistic, much like Apple's OS X. It's not widely used, but having the option to have a desktop in your mobile phone is an amazing addition.

With a pledge from 17,215 people in just a month, Ubuntu got the exposure it needed as the highest crowd-sourced product.

The Ubuntu OS will likely hit the market early 2014, not in the form of the Edge, but phones matching minimum specs of a quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processor, 1GB of memory, and a 32GB flash storage would be able to boot as a PC too.

A proper third place mobile OS may not be needed in the mobile market, but who knows, a dual-booting device may see people quickly jump ship from either Android or iOS, because why have one, when you can have two?